Your guide to Brisbane Airport's international business class lounges

Your guide to Brisbane Airport's international business class lounges

Brisbane Airport's international terminal is home to no less than five lounges, and with some business class passengers, frequent flyers or lounge members potentially having two or even three lounges to choose from, it pays to know all the options.

For example, Star Alliance business class passengers and Star Alliance Gold frequent flyers can often choose between the Singapore Airlines and Air New Zealand lounges, while passengers of Qantas and Emirates may be able to visit the lounge of the other airline, depending on departure time and destination.

Travellers with a Priority Pass card, AMEX Platinum Charge Card or Centurion Card can also swing by the Plaza Premium Lounge – with cooked-to-order dining and barista-made coffee – when flying with any airline in any class of service, potentially giving travellers their second or even third option.

Whichever airline you prefer and wherever you're flying, here are today's lounge options at Brisbane Airport: soon to be joined by a sixth lounge when Virgin Australia opens 'My Lounge'.

Air New Zealand, Star Alliance lounge

Where it is: Turn right after duty-free, turn right again and head up the escalator between gates 81 and 82, where the lounge is located on your left-hand side.

When it’s open: From 5am daily for morning departures, closing when there isn't another eligible flight departing in the next 2.5 hours – in which case, the lounge re-opens at least 2.5 hours before Air New Zealand flights and those of its contracted partner airlines.

Who gets in:

  • Business class and first class passengers of Air New Zealand, Air Canada, Air China, Etihad Airways, EVA Air, Singapore Airlines and Thai Airways
  • Air New Zealand Airpoints Gold, Elite and Elite Priority One before Star Alliance flights
  • Star Alliance Gold, Air Canada Maple Leaf Club Worldwide and United Club cardholders prior to Star Alliance flights
  • Air New Zealand Koru Club guests before Air NZ flights
  • Etihad Guest Gold, Platinum and Exclusive members prior to Etihad Airways flights
  • Virgin Australia Velocity Gold, Platinum and The Club members prior to Etihad Airways flights only

However, Air China passengers are generally directed to the Singapore Airlines lounge, and EVA Air passengers to the Plaza Premium Lounge, because these flights tend to depart when Air New Zealand's lounge is closed – although if the AirNZ lounge is indeed open, these guests would have access in line with Star Alliance rules.

What’s so special: Given its corner location at Brisbane Airport, AirNZ's lounge enjoys a great amount of natural light during the day, joined by views of not only the airport tarmac, but also towards the Brisbane CBD.

Its funky modern design puts power points (AC and USB) near almost every seat, while there's a buffet offering a selection of hot and cold food, machine-made espresso coffee and a self-pour bar, open whenever the lounge is.

AusBT review: Air New Zealand lounge, Brisbane Airport

The Emirates Lounge

Where it is: Above Gate 75.

When it’s open: Three hours prior to all Emirates flights. Emirates currently has departures from Brisbane at 8:45pm (Dubai), 10:25pm (Dubai) and 2:35am (Singapore and Dubai).

Who gets in:

  • Business class and first class passengers of Emirates
  • When travelling with Emirates: Skywards Gold, Platinum and iO cardholders, plus Qantas Gold, Platinum, Platinum One and Chairman's Lounge members
  • When travelling with Qantas, except to North and South America or to South Africa: business class passengers, Qantas Gold cardholders and above, and Skywards Gold members and above
  • Australian Emirates Citi World Mastercard holders using one of their two yearly complimentary lounge passes when travelling with Emirates on an EK flight number
  • Skywards members who purchase access at the door for US$105 (A$145), or non-Skywards members who purchase access for US$136.50 (A$187), when travelling with Emirates or on an Emirates codeshare flight operated by Qantas

Note that many Qantas flights depart in the mornings, so although Qantas passengers can technically access this lounge, the opportunities to do so in Brisbane are limited, given its opening hours.

What’s so special: Although the design of this space hasn't kept up-to-date with the look and feel of Emirates' latest international lounges...

... there continues to be an extensive dining selection from the buffet including a number of plated dishes ready-to-take: and particularly relevant before Emirates' evening flights, your choice of Champagne:

With a custom-built aerobridge, Emirates also offers direct boarding from lounge to aircraft on selected Emirates flights – generally the early-evening Airbus A380 departure, and the 2:35am service to Singapore and beyond, so once you're in the lounge, you don't have to re-enter the terminal to begin your journey.

AusBT review: The Emirates Lounge, Brisbane

Plaza Premium Lounge

Where it is: Opposite the Air New Zealand lounge: take a right after duty-free, another right, and venture up the escalator between gates 81 and 82, where the Plaza Premium Lounge is to your right at the top.

When it’s open: 5am-midnight daily.

Who gets in:

  • Business class and first class passengers of China Airlines, China Southern, EVA Air, Hainan Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, Korean Air, Malaysia Airlines, Malindo Air, Nauru Airlines, Samoa Airways and Solomon Airlines
  • Oneworld Sapphire and Emerald frequent flyers (including Qantas Gold and Platinum) flying with Malaysia Airlines
  • SkyTeam Elite Plus members and other eligible frequent flyers departing on China Airlines, China Southern and Korean Air
  • Star Alliance Gold passengers flying with EVA Air
  • Members of Priority Pass, Dragonpass, LoungeKey and the independent 'The Club' lounge program (not affiliated with Virgin Australia) when travelling with any airline
  • AMEX Platinum Charge Card, AMEX Centurion Card and Diners Club-issued Diners Club cardholders when flying with any airline (excludes new Citibank-branded Diners cards)
  • Paying guests who purchase access for US$41 for two hours or US$48 for five hours
  • Subject to space availability only: Virgin Australia passengers travelling to international destinations other than Los Angeles in business class or as a Velocity Platinum or Gold member, until Virgin Australia's new 'My Lounge' opens in Brisbane. Where capacity doesn't allow, these travellers will instead receive a food and beverage voucher.

What’s so special: Beyond typical buffet fare (which is still available), the Plaza Premium Lounge usually offers a choice between two cooked-to-order dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner, such as eggs, pasta, noodle soup, Pad Thai and others – just place your order at the counter:

The lounge itself has high ceilings and plenty of natural light throughout the day, joined by AC and USB power points near almost every seat, and barista-made coffee.

There's also a day spa here, but all treatments are chargeable – as is alcohol for guests who enter the lounge using Priority Pass, although if your access is provided by an airline, or you use your AMEX Platinum or Centurion Card for entry, alcohol is complimentary.

AusBT review: Plaza Premium Lounge, Brisbane Airport

Qantas International Business Lounge

Where it is: After duty-free, proceed straight ahead, walking parallel to the terminal's exterior glass windows. The Qantas lounge entrance is at the end of this walkway, opposite Gate 80.

When it’s open: 5:30am-midnight, or whenever the last contracted flight departs.

Who gets in:

  • Business class and first class passengers of Qantas, Aircalin, Air Niugini, Air Vanuatu, Cathay Pacific, China Eastern, Emirates, Fiji Airways and Philippine Airlines
  • Jetstar passengers booked on a Business Max fare
  • Qantas Gold, Platinum, Platinum One and Chairman's Lounge frequent flyers prior to Qantas, Jetstar, Emirates, China Eastern or Oneworld flights, or when travelling with other airlines such as China Airlines or Fiji Airways with a Qantas or Jetstar flight number on their ticket
  • Emirates Skywards Gold, Platinum and iO members prior to flights with Emirates; and also before Qantas flights with the exception of those to The Americas or South Africa
  • Oneworld Sapphire and Emerald frequent flyers such as AAdvantage Platinum and Executive Platinum and Cathay Pacific Marco Polo Club Gold and Diamond prior to a Oneworld flight
  • Qantas Club members prior to a Qantas or Jetstar flight, or when travelling on a Qantas or Jetstar codeshare flight operated by another airline
  • American Airlines Admirals Club members travelling with Qantas on a QF or AA flight number
  • China Eastern Gold and Platinum Eastern Miles members travelling to Mainland China on a Qantas or China Eastern flight number
  • Fiji Airways Tabua Club members flying with Fiji Airways on an FJ flight number
  • Air Niugini Gold Executive Club members flying with Air Niugini
  • Qantas Silver frequent flyers using their free once-yearly lounge pass, along with customers who receive these passes from their credit card company such as with ANZ Frequent Flyer Black and Qantas-earning Westpac Altitude Black cards

However, Malaysia Airlines' passengers departing from Brisbane do not currently have access to the Qantas lounge, even under Oneworld rules, due to capacity constraints. While Qantas is planning a further expansion of its Brisbane Lounge to alleviate this, for now, Malaysia Airlines passengers can only use the Plaza Premium Lounge here.

What’s so special: While once an outdated lounge with a separate "first class shoebox" for Platinum frequent flyers, as it was affectionately known, Qantas' international lounge in Brisbane underwent a complete revamp in 2016 to become a bigger, two-storey space shared by all eligible passengers, with a very 'Queensland' look and feel.

In the mornings, there's the Brisbane Breakfast Hatch upstairs, offering cooked-to-order items like Eggs Benedict or healthy breakfast bowls, while the main level of the lounge provides a cocktail bar with barista-made coffee – and, tucked away exclusively for Platinum One, Chairman's Lounge and other VIP frequent flyers, Champagne (Perrier-Jouët) on request.

AusBT review: Qantas International Business Lounge, Brisbane

Singapore Airlines SilverKris business class lounge

Where it is: In the same area as the Air New Zealand and Plaza Premium lounges: take the escalator upstairs between gates 81 and 82, and follow the walkway around to the right (walking past these other two lounges). The SilverKris lounge will be in front of you.

When it’s open: 3 hours before departure for all Singapore Airlines flights (SQ256 at 9:10am, SQ236 at 2:45pm, SQ266 at 6:10pm and SQ246 at 11:25pm); while also opening for Virgin Australia flights to Los Angeles (VA7 at 11:55am and VA9 and 10:15pm, on varying days), and for Air China flights (CA796 at 7:30pm, seasonally).

Who gets in:

  • Business class and first class passengers of Singapore Airlines, Air New Zealand, Air Canada, Air China, EVA Air and Thai Airways
  • Singapore Airlines' KrisFlyer Elite Gold, PPS Club and Solitaire PPS Club members before Star Alliance flights, along with other Star Alliance Gold cardholders, and paid Air Canada Maple Leaf Club Worldwide and United Club members before the same
  • Virgin Australia Velocity Gold, Platinum and The Club frequent flyers, and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Gold and UNIQ members, prior to Singapore Airlines flights
  • Until Virgin Australia's new 'My Lounge' opens in Brisbane, Virgin Australia passengers flying to Los Angeles in business class or as a Velocity Gold or Platinum member can also visit this lounge.

As this lounge opens and closes throughout the day, Star Alliance passengers booked to fly with other airlines may or may not be able to visit this space in place of their 'default' lounge, depending on the departure time of their flight.

What’s so special: Following its relocation in 2016 from the corner of the duty-free shop to a brand new space upstairs with a view, the Singapore Airlines SilverKris lounge adopts the airline's 'home away from home' feel, with modern furnishings and a variety of zones nestled into an apartment-like space.

While all food and beverage here comes from the buffet, the selections tend to be more substantial than your typical lounge buffet, with everything from satay sticks to roti, joined by favourites like Singapore noodles, a variety of cheeses, pre-dinner bites and some grab-and-go wraps among your choices:

AusBT review: Singapore Airlines' SilverKris lounge, Brisbane


Once Virgin Australia's 'My Lounge' opens in Brisbane, it'll become the go-to for business class passengers and eligible frequent flyers departing on all Virgin Australia flights, and for Velocity Gold and Platinum members flying with Hainan Airlines to Shenzhen in premium economy or economy, who do not currently receive lounge access here.

Chris Chamberlin
Chris Chamberlin is a senior journalist with Australian Business Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!
 

12 comments

  • stoffel

    stoffel

    22 Nov, 2018 09:11 pm

    I have a bone of contention with reviews on this site that reference Emirates lounge access rules. You state:

    • When travelling with Qantas, except to North and South America or to South Africa: business class passengers, Qantas Gold cardholders and above, and Skywards Gold members and above.

    I'm Platinum with Qantas and do a regular run in J up to Tokyo Narita. Each and every time I've tried accessing the lounges in Melbourne and Brisbane I've been turned away with the excuse that I need to be travelling on an Emirates codeshare flight which the Narita flights are not. Your reviews never state this. I have tried e-mailing both Qantas and Emirates about this but get fobbed off with excuses and told to reference various parts of their websites which inevitably clarify nothing. Are you able to get in touch with Emirates/QF and get a definitive answer on this?
    No member give thanks

  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    23 Nov, 2018 08:21 am

    Hi stoffel, the rules we list are those published for the Qantas+Emirates partnership (and confirmed by Emirates, as we’ve gone through the access rules with them before), and there’s no published requirement of being on a codeshare flight for access - but in Brisbane, you wouldn’t be able to access the Emirates lounge before Tokyo flights anyway as these depart in the morning, while the Emirates lounge here is only open in the evenings.

    I’ve had no problems accessing Emirates’ Australian lounges before other Qantas flights to Asia (e.g. Sydney-Shanghai), but if your experience was recent, please share your flight number and date and we can discuss this with Emirates to see if anything has changed. Thanks!
    No member give thanks

  • stoffel

    stoffel

    23 Nov, 2018 01:35 pm

    It may have been a year ago when I tried getting into the Brisbane lounge. They still had the A380 morning flight to Auckland then so the lounge was open. The staff were absolutely adamant that the codeshare rule applied. Likewise at Melbourne. If it happens again I'll let you know.
    No member give thanks

  • Pablo

    Pabs

    23 Nov, 2018 12:13 am

    Which would people recommend between Air NZ and Singapore lounges? I have Star Alliance Gold and a Star alliance night flight so can access either, interested in your recommendations
    Member who gave thanks

    robjan02

  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    23 Nov, 2018 08:24 am

    Personally, I find the food a little better in the SilverKris lounge, but the views and light to be better in NZ (because you can look towards both the city and the tarmac, versus tarmac-only from SQ): so I tend to go to NZ if I’m on a morning flight as the light is better to wake me up and ‘breakfast is breakfast’, and to SQ if I’m flying later in the day.
    No member give thanks

  • robjan02

    robjan02

    23 Nov, 2018 09:18 pm

    I can definitely comment on the 2 lounges as I fly Business Class regularly with SQ out of Brisbane.The SQ lounge is small,and has little or no service once in the lounge.Recently my wife and I decided to use the ANZ lounge and was surprised with the food assortment and "light" that has been mentioned,along with the service.The food quality and offerings in the SQ lounge has been lacking.Hot meals have been cool and not as plentiful.Obvious cost cutting and generally limited.I'd rather use ANZ if they were open at the time prior to SQ
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  • Peter Guzic

    pere

    23 Nov, 2018 07:58 am

    A little bit disappointing that you can't use the Qantas lounge when flying with Malaysian.
    No member give thanks

  • Tim Johns

    Johns

    23 Nov, 2018 03:43 pm

    Have been to the Qantas lounge listed above a few times this year and each time it was very overcrowded to the point where last time I could not find any space to even put my bag down, let alone sit and have something to eat.

    Looking at the list of "Who Gets In" above... I now know why. It's a nice space, just not enough of it IMO.
    No member give thanks

  • Anthony Higgins

    PFM Metrics

    23 Nov, 2018 04:57 pm

    Virgin Velocity gold and platinum members have never been treated well when travelling out of Brisbane or around the Pacific. The Premium Plaza is adequate only. I have never been given the opportunity to order food outside of the limited buffet offerings, and then with no champagne for breakfast, no cognac for supper.
    No member give thanks

  • Stephen Jose

    fensonjoseph

    23 Nov, 2018 09:50 pm

    A bit disappointing that Priority members have to pay for liqour at the Plaza premium loimge.Not worth the money.
    No member give thanks

  • chanvw

    chanvw

    26 Nov, 2018 09:34 pm

    With respect to the "My Lounge", the previous article said that it is "due to open towards the end of November". We are already "towards the end of November" (and the actual end is only 4 days away) - do you know if there's been a delay?
    No member give thanks

  • chanvw

    chanvw

    12 Dec, 2018 12:29 pm

    Just to reply to my own comment, it looks like Virgin has updated their website to now say "The Brisbane ‘My Lounge’ will be opening in early 2019."
    No member give thanks

Guest

13 Dec, 2018 05:51 pm

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